Muckraker: Grist on Politics

As we reported on Friday, the House passed a renewable-energy tax-credit bill that differed from the Senate’s version. Today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, “we can’t get it done” — i.e., Senate Democrats can’t get the House version of the bill passed, leaving the fate of tax credits for renewable energy up in the air.

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The House version includes more measures to pay for the tax breaks, which Republicans in the Senate oppose. The Senate version would pay for only part of the tax credits, by freezing a tax break for oil and gas companies at the current rate and tightening the rules on taxes that oil and gas companies pay on income earned overseas. But moderate Democrats in the House want the bill to include measures that would cover the full cost of the tax breaks. The contention makes it highly unlikely that the House bill will pass in the Senate, and Republicans today refused to even move to consider of the bill.

Congress was supposed to adjourn for the year today, but because the financial bailout package failed in the House, representatives will have to reconvene later in the week. Their time is probably going to be spent addressing the financial crisis, but they could still attempt to take up the entire tax package again. The most likely situation, however, is that they’ll punt the energy-related taxes to either a lame-duck session of Congress after the election, or wait until a new Congress next year.

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